This rare Winchester Model 1873 is one of only 84 Spanish muskets manufactured. This musket is illustrated on pages 507 and 508 within the chapter "Model 1873 Spanish Carbines & Muskets" in the book "Winchester's New Model of 1873: A Tribute, Volume II" by James Gordon. On page 511, Gordon indicates this musket was sold on April 18, 1879, in order 14,082. One of these muskets is part of the collection of the Rock Island Arsenal Museum and was reported to have been collected from Native Americans after the Battle of Little Bighorn and was part of the same order. Gordon notes, "Surviving Model 1873 Spanish Model muskets and carbines are exceedingly rare. Extensive research involving museums and collections, as well as related publications, has revealed only five muskets and three carbines of this style, and about half of these are in museums. This does not provide today's collectors with much hope of acquiring an example of this variation." The design changes were made at the request of F. d'Suzanne as representative of the Spanish government working with Winchester's representative Emmett Addis and consist of a solid buttplate, no lever catch, no projection on the lever for the latch, enlarged loading cutout for easier reloading, single barrel band with exposed band spring and sling swivel, forearm cap that covers the end of the magazine tube, and a cleaning rod that fits through a loop on the cap on the left side and is exposed until it meets the barrel band. The block mounted blade front sight doubles as the lug for a socket bayonet (not included). The two-line address and King's improvement patent marking is marked ahead of the notch and folding ladder rear sight. The frame has the Second Model screw-fastened dust cover guide rail and the thumb print dust cover. The upper tang has "Model. 1873." The lower tang has the serial number in script. The second sling swivel is fitted on the bottom of the buttstock. The included factory letter confirms this musket as a "Spanish model" with angular bayonet (not included) when received in the warehouse on April 18, 1879 and shipped the same day.
Fine with 40% original blue finish, strongest blue on the barrel, significant original niter blue on the loading gate, traces of original case colors on the hammer and lever, gray and light brown patina on the faded areas, some very light surface oxidation, and moderate scratches and marks consistent with period use. The wood is also fine and has oiled finish, scattered scratches and minor dents, a chip at the heel on the left, and a well executed repaired crack extending from the lower tang up past the rear sling swivel. Mechanically fine. As James Gordon noted, very few of these muskets extant "does not provide today's collectors with much hope of acquiring an example of this variation." This is an incredibly fleeting chance to get your hands on one of the rarest of all Model 1873 variations, one of only three in private hands. Do not miss out!
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